Environmentalists criticize proposed logging changes

Dear Editor,
The provincial government is recommending changes to how logging takes place in British Columbia. These changes will increase control and management of our forests to corporations, making public input into the use of provincial lands even more difficult.
The current practice of allocating companies a volume of wood to be cut (Volume Based Tenures) could be replaced with Tree Farm Licenses that would give companies’ long-term rights to manage the land for forestry.
Our forests are in trouble, but the current proposal does not address the root cause of the problem: we are logging our forests at an unsustainable rate and not accounting for all the benefits our forests provide. We need to broaden the discussion and engage British Columbians in a real discussion for the long-term health of forests and forest communities.
The provincial government’s current proposal does not meet their own objective of improved forest management. The Forest Practices Board, the independent watchdog for sound forest practices in British Columbia, says the proposed changes will not help, but will hinder the ability of government to manage the long-term sustainability of our forests.  Even some industry leaders such as Canfor’s CEO Don Kane have recognized the folly of the proposal and requested that government not go ahead with the proposed changes to tenure.
It is critically important that British Columbians demonstrate that we care about our forests and all of the benefits that they provide. We do not want public land use to be further controlled by private companies. The government’s proposal is a simplistic response to timber supply shortfalls and unsustainable harvest rates. The proposal to create new Tree Farm Licenses fails to recognize that government and public oversight is important for the health of our forests and the long-term health of our communities.
John Bergenske,
Kimberley, BC